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Pobeda Peak 2021. Season results. Three dead on 21 successful ascents

Pobeda Peak is the northernmost and the most difficult peak in the former Soviet Union. It was first climbed in 1956, but it was not possible to reach the peak in winter until 1990. Even Everest was first climbed in 1953.

Constant bad weather, snowfalls, strong winds on the ridge - all this leads to the fact that in some years no one is able to climb the Victory. 

The slopes of this impregnable mountain have become silent witnesses to tragic events many times. In total, in the history of climbing, a little more than nine hundred people have climbed to the top, and more than seventy died trying to climb.

Пик Победы - итоги сезона 2021 - фото 5

Up until 1969, the number of those who succeeded and survived and those who died on the summit was almost equal. It was only after 1969 that the scale of death tipped in favor of successful assaults on the summit. And not because the mountain has become "easier", but because of more modern equipment and better climbing tactics.

To this day, this peak remains the most formidable 7,000m peak on the planet despite the best hiking equipment and good physical preparation. 

In this article we will tell you how the season of ascents on the Victory Peak - one of the highest and most difficult sports peaks, which not every climber can manage.

The 2021 season was marked by the successful ascent of 21 climbers from 5 countries (18 men and 3 women). The Ukrainian team consisting of Andrey Vergeles (Gornaya Bolezn YouTube channel), Vladimir Lanko, Sergey and Tatiana Krivosheevy successfully climbed the peak. Victory Peak is a rugged mountain, so our guys witnessed dramatic events on its snow-covered slopes.

Пик Победы - итоги сезона 2021 - фото 2

According to reports from our guys, members of various climbing teams and rescue groups, three climbers disappeared in three separate tragedies and most likely died: a British climber of Iranian descent, Mehri Jafari, an Iranian, Reza Adine, and a Russian, Valentin Mikhailov.

The first report about the tragedy from the Victory Peak came on August 4. The first report about the tragedy on the Victory Peak was received on August 4. The British girl, Mehri Jafari, had gone missing when she fell on the slope at 6300m. 

Jafari was a British solicitor, human rights lawyer, trade unionist, poet and activist.

She had previously regularly hiked mountains and made solo ascents - in 2008, she climbed the neighboring seven-thousand-meter peak of Khan Tengri (7010m) alone, becoming the first woman from Iran to do so.

In 2021, as part of an unclosed project, Jafari planned to climb Pobeda Peak and Lenin Peak alone. 

After an unsuccessful solo trek from Victory Peak base camp to Camp 1 (4,500 meters), Mehri joined an Iranian team and went with them to storm the summit. She struggled to keep up with the rest of the Iranian team but an arm injury the day before and a lack of proper acclimatization forced her to turn back. 

On the descent, around 4 p.m. at 6,300m, the woman slipped off the ridge and fell in the direction of the Wild Glacier.

Hungarian climbers Albert Kovacs and Peter Witez witnessed the accident, but they were unsure whether Mehri died as a result of the fall. The section of Dikiy Glacier where Jafari fell is located on a fairly steep slope and dotted with deep snow cracks, so it is likely that the woman had little chance of survival.

Пик Победы - итоги сезона 2021 - фото 1

Just a few days later, on August 7, a second Iranian climber, Reza Adine, went missing as a result of a fall on the Chinese side of the mountain.

He had stumbled and fallen and started sliding down the steep snowy slope. Andrei Vergeles witnessed the accident. Adine had no ice axe in his hands, and he tried to stop his fall with the trekking sticks. After gaining speed and sliding down a slope of 80-100 meters, he flew over a bend toward China. 

At one point it turned out the Iranians did not have a full length rope with them, so the Ukrainian team offered them their own, but they limited themselves to trying to shout at their friend without success. A full-fledged search for a team member, they decided to postpone.  "- Yes, we will do it, but after the summit." - reported the Iranians.

Andrei Vergeles noted that despite the fact that there were quite a few Iranian climbers at the base, none of them went out to look for Mehri and Reza. 

It should be noted that after Jafari was reported missing, her family and friends organized an emergency fundraiser to cover the cost of the search and launched a #RescueMehri social media campaign. Witnesses to the fall, climbers Kovacs and Vitez, as well as Jafari's friend Alex Stone, circled the slope, but apart from her sleeping bag, nothing could be found, likely due to a recent icefall or avalanches.

Пик Победы - итоги сезона 2021 - фото 4

Meanwhile, another tragedy unfolded on the mountain. On August 8, a Russian climber, Valentin Mikhailov, died during a rescue attempt on Pobeda Peak (the Abalakov route). A Russian mountain climber, Valentin Mikhailov, died while rescuing the Pobeda Peak.

Mikhailov had joined his group to meet the team of the Sturm club from St. Petersburg. They followed the group of Nikolai Totmyanin - they had climbed the peak first in the season, thus symbolically "unlocking" the mountain. 

The second group, going in one bundle, about 22 hours fell on the traverse and got stuck in a crevasse. The guys were badly injured and needed help. From 6900 to 5650 the first group helped the second group to go down.

At "5650" those who were descending met a group of rescuers from Moscow and St. Petersburg sent to meet them from BC, one of them was Valentin Mikhailov. 

According to Nikolay Totmyanin he [Valentin] was going without rope and tried to lead some of the victims while Kornev was being injected with medicine.

 An indirect cause of Valentin Mikhailov's death could be that Totmyanin's group had been climbing for quite a long time over the ledge which had fallen off with Valentin. The ledge had not withstood the load of the day, and the rescuers had not had time to create a parallel, more reliable trail. 

As of August 12, the search operations on Victory Peak had been terminated. Sources say that the authorities have already begun collecting eyewitness accounts of the tragic events. 

The Victory Peak has once again confirmed its status as the most difficult seven-thousand meter peak, and a series of deadly events once again makes many people rethink the price of the summit, which is often a human life. Friends, go to the mountains safely.


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